The Great Christmas Light Fight – Heavyweights: Egg Harbor Township, Lehi, East Peoria & Glendale

The Great Christmas Light Fight is an annual holiday light competition that brings together some of the most dazzling and creative displays from around the United States. In 2020, the show featured a special edition known as Heavyweights in its eighth season.

On December 16th, 2020, the Heavyweights edition aired on the ABC channel, attracting a viewership of 3.69 million. This special episode featured several exceptional municipalities and commercial powerhouses; carefully selected for their ability to create spectacular holiday light displays. Egg Harbor Township in New Jersey, Lehi in Utah, East Peoria in Illinois, and Glendale in Arizona were some of the locations that were showcased.

The Great Christmas Light Fight Heavyweights of Season 8
The Great Christmas Light Fight Heavyweights of Season 8

What made this particular episode stand out was the grand scale of the displays that were featured. As they had been created by larger organizations with more resources, the displays were truly extraordinary in their size, scope and creativity. The show also provided glimpses of the technology behind these displays, highlighting the various lighting techniques and design elements, which added to their overall appeal.

The Heavyweights episode of the Great Christmas Light Fight was expertly hosted by celebrity judge Carter Oosterhouse, who provided expert and insightful commentary on each installation. This special event was a wonderful opportunity for viewers to marvel at some of the most fantastic and extravagant holiday light displays in America.

The Great Christmas Light Fight Displays of Season 8 Episode 3

One of the heavyweights on the show was Storybook Land, a popular amusement park in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. This location featured an immense display of over two million lights spread across a vast field, with different holiday-themed installations such as frosty the snowman and Santa Claus. Another attraction on the show was the World of Illumination’s holiday light display; a drive-through light show in Glendale, AZ. Guests can experience the holiday spirit in style while driving through over 1.5 million lights that are synchronized to festive music. In East Peoria, IL, Folepi delivered an amazing drive-through Winter Wonderland that featured its parade floats, lighted displays grouped in themed areas, and a festive atmosphere that typified Christmas. Lastly, Luminaria in Lehi, UT, wowed audiences with over 5 acres of holiday magic. It featured a mix of intricate lighting fixtures, animated displays, and more.

Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey the Great Christmas Light Fight

Storybook Land is a beloved children’s theme park that has been operated by the same family since 1955. With more than 15 rides and dozens of themed attractions to suit all ages, guests enter a world of wonder, where classic storytime favorites are made into reality. From springtime to fall, and for special Halloween and Christmas events, the park provides a clean, family-friendly setting bedazzled in holiday lights and filled with whimsical decorations that enchant both young and old.

The charming rides at Storybook Land appeal to both preschoolers and thrill-seekers alike. You’ll find the park-wide views from the kid-friendly Whirly Bug Ferris wheel are awe-inspiring. Don’t miss Santa’s daily countdown, followed by visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The excitement continues with Bubbles the Coaster and Turtle Twirl, thrilling rides that provide excitement for guests of all ages.

While wandering around the park, visitors are advised to keep their eyes open for magical snow coming down near the entrance. Although it’s not snow, the snow machine on the roof creates a winter wonderland that is jaw-droppingly beautiful. For unforgettable family photos, there are plenty of photo-worthy spots within the park, including the giant Santa Claus statue, the brightly lit Christmas tree tunnel, and more.

For a stunning holiday light show, a visit to the petting zoo area and the Rockin’ Tug ride is a must. Here, guests will find a grove of lit Christmas trees surrounding a castle built from holiday lights. Other attractions include Santa’s Workshop and the North Pole, a house full of electric trains that are especially delightful for children during the festive season.

Luminaria in Lehi, Utah on the Great Christmas Light Fight

Experience the magic of Luminaria at Ashton Gardens, where visitors are transported to another world with all the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of the holidays. A one-way path guides guests past 6,500 programmable luminaries that blanket the hill and form a moving picture of flying reindeer, ombré waves, and other signs of the season. Songs and shows become even more spectacular with the 120-foot tree (already on top of a 40-foot hill!) incorporated into the show.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Legend of Yeti at Luminaria. He can be spotted throughout the event, with his home located at the Himalayan Heights section of Luminaria.

Guests seeking a quiet moment for spiritual reflection can view the nativity scene before entering the Light of the World Garden. Peaceful music and glowing lanterns accompany this space featuring 35 monument-sized bronze sculptures depicting scenes from the New Testament. Visitors can also indulge in s’mores at glowing fire pits, hot chocolate and sweets from the gift boutique, interactive game areas, and much more.

For those looking ahead to New Year’s Eve, the celebration continues with New Year’s Late Night at Luminaria on December 31st from 8:45 pm to 10:45 pm. Guests can enjoy fireworks at 10 pm and midnight, along with various other exciting activities.

Folepi’s Winter Wonderland in East Peoria, Illinois on the Great Christmas Light Fight

The East Peoria Festival of Lights began with the Parade of Lights and continued with the Thanksgiving opening of the Folepi’s Winter Wonderland drive-through display. Many aspects of the festival were named for Folepi, the festival’s toy soldier mascot and an acronym for Festival Of Lights East Peoria Illinois.

The Parade of Lights began at 5:45 pm on Saturday, Nov. 21 and spectators saw approximately 30 lighted floats gliding along the parade route. Spectators spread out and socially distanced along the approximately two-mile route which started at East Washington Street and Dolans Lane, and continued along East Washington Street, turning left at the intersection with Camp Street. It then turned right from Washington onto Taylor Street, continued along Taylor and ended at Taylor Street and Springfield Road. In the days following the parade, the floats were moved to a city park which became Folepi’s Winter Wonderland. Folepi’s Winter Wonderland drive-through display opened at 5 pm on Thanksgiving and remained open through January 3, including all holidays. Visitors could view the lights in the comfort of their vehicles, the ultimate in social distancing. Featured were the parade floats and lighted displays grouped in themed areas such as the Western Town, Circus Land, Space Travel, and the Prehistoric Area. Hours were 5 -9 pm Sundays through Thursdays and 5 – 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission was $10 for regular vehicles (cars, trucks, and vans), $30 for a small bus (party, shuttle, mini and school), and $150 for full-size charter buses.

When possible, Festival officials encouraged visitors to come to the display Sunday through Thursday, as wait times those nights were significantly less than on Friday and particularly Saturday. Traffic on Friday and Saturday was much higher, so there was a long line to get in the display on those nights. Those who could come to the display only on Friday or Saturday were advised to keep in mind there would be a long entrance line and should make appropriate plans for waiting to enter.A popular place for taking selfies or photos of the kids was Folepi’s Enchanted Forest (located at 401 W. Washington St., in East Peoria’s Levee District shopping area). Folepi’s Enchanted Forest featured the festival’s 35-foot tall Christmas tree, lighted trees and displays, and the Terry the Tractor parade float. The display opened for the season during a tree-lighting event, featuring carols by the Caterpillar Employees Mixed Chorus, from 5:45 pm to 6:15 pm. Fondulac District Library sponsored Holiday Story Walks in the Reading Garden at the forest’s entrance. The story walks consisted of colorful printed storybook panels illuminated with spotlights, and placed in the Reading Garden. The schedule included The Polar Express, The Snow Globe Family, and The Night Before Christmas. The Narrated Nativity, located at the intersection of Taylor Street and Springfield Road, had a three-dimensional appearance at night and detailed the “reason for the season”. Those tuning to radio station 1610 AM heard a 2-minute narration. Admission was free. Unlike the rest of the festival displays, the Narrated Nativity was funded by private donations through the Nativity Display Association.The lights were the star of the show, but there were many other events that comprised the Festival of Lights.

World of Illumination in Glendale, Arizona on the Great Christmas Light Fight

World of Illumination is a popular holiday light display in Glendale, Arizona. The attraction features millions of colorful lights synchronized to popular holiday music. Located at 6797 N 93rd Ave in Glendale, Arizona, the light display has two theme parks: Rockin’ Christmas and Arctic Adventure. Rockin’ Christmas features holiday lights synchronized to popular Christmas songs, while Arctic Adventure features lights synchronized to popular tunes about winter and adventure.

The light display offers visitors the option to experience the lights by driving through in their vehicle or walking through the display. Guests who prefer to drive through the display can enjoy the lights while staying warm and cozy in their cars. Visitors who wish to walk through the display can park their car near the entrance and stroll through the winter wonderland.

World of Illumination is considered one of the largest drive-through holiday light attractions in the world with over 1.5 million lights. The attraction also offers concessions with festive food and beverages for visitors to enjoy. World of Illumination is open from November to January and ticket pricing varies based on day of the week and whether visitors choose to drive through or walk through the display.

The Great Christmas Light Fight Season 8 Episode 3 Host

Great Christmas Light Fight’s Carter Oosterhouse

Carter Oosterhouse is a heavyweight in the world of architectural design and home improvement. He is a professional carpenter, TV presenter and author whose career spans over two decades. His expansive portfolio includes numerous large-scale projects, such as building homes for Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.

Carter Oosterhouse of the Great Christmas Light Fight
Carter Oosterhouse of the Great Christmas Light Fight

Oosterhouse has also made many appearances on television shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Trading Spaces, and Red Hot & Green. Oosterhouse currently hosts a series called Carter Can, where he shares his knowledge with viewers in order to help them make important decisions about home improvements.

In 2020, Oosterhouse became a celebrity judge for the Heavyweights episode of the Great Christmas Light Fight; providing insightful commentary on each festive installation featured throughout the broadcast. His expertise in lighting techniques and creative design elements brought an extra special touch to this holiday event.

Carter Oosterhouse is truly a heavyweight in his industry – his work has been recognized by numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens and This Old House Magazine, with whom he recently collaborated on several projects. With his vast experience and passion for making dreams come true for homeowners everywhere, Carter Oosterhouse continues to be an inspiration for aspiring design professionals across America.

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Melinda Parker
Melinda Parker
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